Round of Applause
Local football offenses have played very well in the first week of the season—and we mean both sorts of football. The Woodland gridders displayed one of the most balanced units in the Naugatuck Valley League last Friday against Sacred Heart as new quarterback Tanner Kingsley threw for three touchdowns while running back Matt Zaccagnini ran for three more. Naugatuck also made a statement in an out-of-state game in East Longmeadow, Mass., by posting a 34-15 win. The Greyhounds broke in a new quarterback, Zac Mercer, who showed he’s more than capable of picking up the offensive slack with a pair of touchdowns. Jake Yourison was also the horse he was expected to be, scoring two more times. Both teams have crucial matchups this week—Woodland hosts Ansonia and Naugatuck hosts Derby. Local soccer offenses are also lighting up the scoreboard as the Woodland boys and girls are blowing out their competition with prolific scorers like Mike Segala, Eric Dietz, and Steph Dumond. The Naugatuck girls also have a new go-to scorer in Alexya Alves, who scored seven of her team’s first 13 goals this season, while Adam Branco and Ygor Silva have led the boys’ offense. It looks like our teams can score with the best of ‘em.
The weather has been awesome, as a brief side note. I pleaded in last week’s Overtime for the weather to take a sharp turn toward autumn—and did it ever! Fall sports need fall weather. We live in New England, which means we get to see the leaves turn colors while watching high school sports. What else could be more fun than that? It looks like Mother Nature is a faithful reader of Overtime like you are. (Yes, you.)
Chorus of Boos
College conference realignment is becoming absolutely ridiculous. Nobody really knows how this is going to end, but I can be pretty sure it’s not going to have a very happy ending for everybody. The BCS really screwed everything up when it came into play in the late 1990s because now conference strength means more than ever. (The same reason my Boise State Broncos never get to play for the national championship—which they would win.) Now, Syracuse and Pittsburgh have left the Big East, which basically means the conference is going to explode soon. The Big 12 has been ravaged in recent months while conferences like the Pac-12, Big Ten (which has 12), ACC, and SEC are flourishing. We’re going to be heading toward superconferences, which are ridiculous. There’s no point to having a conference if everybody doesn’t play everybody. But these highly educated folks running the schools know much better than us. RIP college sports making sense instead of dollars.
Word from the Woods
Although the Hawks allowed their first goals of the season last week, they still managed to beat each of their first three opponents by at least four goals. Woodland beat Sacred Heart, 4-3, last Friday before crushing Kennedy, 8-1, on Monday. Against the Hearts, Mike Segala netted his first hat trick while Lumbardh Pacuku, Nick LaPerriere, Eric Dietz, and Tim Madormo added goals. Stephen Pec tallied two assists and Richie Vidala made one. Marc Beaulieu made eight saves in the game. Monday’s win over Kennedy was a near-repeat of Friday’s victory as Segala earned another hat trick. Vigan Pacuku scored two goals and added two assists while Dietz had a goal and two assists. Matt Moutinho and Lumbardh Pacuku chipped in with a goal and assist apiece and Adam Baz and Mike Costa both had assists. Beaulieu and Patrick Dietz combined to make 11 saves. After a strong test on Wednesday against Torrington, the Hawks get almost a week off before hosting Derby on Tuesday. Woodland will then meet Oxford in a nonleague game on Sept. 28 and will host Wolcott on Sept. 30.
The Hawks cruised in their only game of the week, a 7-0 win over Sacred Heart last Thursday. Steph Dumond had two goals and assist while Megan Lynch and Audra Blewitt each had a goal and an assist. Savannah Aviz, Maria Macek, and Jehna Kemp also added goals, and Keri DeBiase tallied two assists. Alma Rizvani only had to make one save to preserve the shutout. Woodland now faces a stretch of five games in 10 days, started by a tough test against Torrington on Wednesday. The Hawks will host Ansonia on Friday before visiting Derby on Tuesday. Woodland then hosts Oxford on Sept. 28 in a nonleague match and concludes the stretch by meeting Wolcott on Sept. 30.
The Woodland boys and girls cross country teams began the season on opposite ends of the spectrum following their first league meets at Watertown on Tuesday. The meet also included Wilby, Crosby, and Torrington. The boys lost to Watertown (15-50), Wilby (20-35), and Torrington (26-31), but salvaged a win over Crosby (15-45). The Hawks didn’t place a finisher in the top 10, which was filled with runners from Watertown and Wilby. The girls had better success, beating Torrington (22-35), Crosby (15-50), and Wilby (15-50), but narrowly losing to Watertown (25-31). Mary Sardinskas was Woodland’s top finisher, placing third in 21:18. Melissa Kiley was fourth in 22:08 and Stephanie Kiley was fifth in 22:29. Miranda Moffat also placed in the top 10, finishing eighth in 24:02. The girls are now 3-1 while the boys are 1-3. Both teams are back in action on Tuesday when they head to Naugatuck for a three-way meet with the Greyhounds and Kennedy.
The Naugatuck spikers lost their only match of the week, a 3-1 defeat to Kennedy last Friday. The Greyhounds tied up the match at 1-1 following a 25-20 victory in the second game, but the Eagles took both the third and fourth games to seal the win. Jess Buckley led the ‘Hounds with 18 digs and three aces while Lauren Andreoli had 14 digs, 12 points, and two aces. Cataysia Brown also tallied eight kills and three blocks for Naugy, which was 1-1 after its first week of play. Tuesday’s scheduled match against Wilby was moved to Wednesday. Following that makeup, the Greyhounds travel to Crosby on Thursday before hosting Torrington on Friday. Naugy completes the short homestand next week by hosting Ansonia on Tuesday and Terryville on Sept. 28.
Girls Swimming and Diving
The Greyhounds made a splash in their first meet of the season by defeating Kennedy, 91-80, last Friday. Event winners included the 200 medley relay team (Rebecca Doback, Maria Carranza, Amanda Miller, and Trisha Reynolds) and the 200 freestyle relay team (Madison Wilson, Barbara Martins, Elizabeth Walsh, and Amanda Miller). Individual winners included Walsh (200 free), Wilson (200 IM, 100 fly), Miller (100 free), and Doback (500 free). Naugatuck will try to remain unbeaten on Saturday night at league power Watertown.
Both the Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams posted easy victories in their first meets of the season on Tuesday against St. Paul and Seymour. The boys beat Seymour (17-44) and St. Paul (15-50) thanks to a sweep of the top four spots and placing seven runners in the top 10. Nick Moriello just beat out teammates Jake Simons and Michael Uva for first place as all finished in 18:54. Dan Schumacher was just a second behind those three to finish fourth. John Caruso placed seventh in 19:45 while Paul Widden was ninth in 20:09 and Collin Reilly was 10th in 20:25. The girls also easily beat Seymour (15-50) and St. Paul (19-40). Jordyn Allen won the race by almost a minute in 21:49. Lindsey Thoren was third in 23:46 while the ‘Hounds swept places six through eight. Samantha Hilse was sixth in 24:05, Shannon Hale was seventh in 25:28, and Madison Beasley was eighth in 25:37. Both teams are now 2-0 and will host Woodland and Kennedy on Tuesday in their next league meets.
CN Athletes of the Week
My first athlete of the week award goes to Woodland’s Matt Zaccagnini, a running back and linebacker on the football team. He was Woodland’s third-leading rusher last season with 406 yards and five touchdowns—not considered the go-to guy, but a year later Zaccagnini is cast into that role. He’s one of the Hawks main threats and he scored the first touchdown of the season for Woodland in the season opener against Sacred Heart. That certainly set the tone and got the team to settle down. When all was said and done, Zaccagnini carried the ball 37 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns as the Hawks prevailed, 41-18.
It’s hard not to recognize Naugatuck’s Alexya Alves as my first athlete of the week this fall. The soccer player has been outstanding on offense thus far in 2011, helping to pick up the slack left by a fantastic graduating class. She scored four goals in the season opener against Sacred Heart, added two more in a victory over St. Paul, and tallied the only goal in Monday’s win over Ansonia. For those keeping track, that means Alves has scored seven of the Greyhounds’ 13 goals in the first week of the season. Not bad at all.